By Awareness Times
One of the most prominent lawyers in Sierra Leone, Mr. Centus Macaulay Esq. of Macauley, Bangura & Co. Law Firm, has Monday 5th February 2018, on behalf of his client Mr. David Fornah, dragged four defendants to the Supreme Court over issues surrounding the presidential candidacy of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella.
The matter lodged at the Supreme Court concerns Yumkella contesting the March 7th 2018 elections.
The legal papers filed have two segments. One is requesting constitutional interpretations of Sections 41, 75 and 76 of Sierra Leone Constitution with respect to citizenship requirements to qualify to contest for President.
Another issue raised is whether Dr. Yumkella, having once sworn oath and been an American citizen, had subsequently followed the dictates of Act No. 13 of 1976 which was the amendment of the 1973 Citizenship Act.
The petitioner wants Supreme Court to declare that Act No. 13 of 1976 which was an amendment of 1973 Citizenship Act, had called on such a former citizen wanting to reclaim citizenship, to undertake certain specific steps including writing officially to the Minister of Internal Affairs to seek to resume his citizenship and waiting for the Minister to so approve. This is however only for those who took foreign citizenship prior to the year 2006.
On January 19th 2018, on the day after Yumkella’s press conference called to confirm he had once held American citizenship, the petitioner wrote to the Minister of Internal Affairs under the 1976 amendment, seeking to know whether there is any letter from Yumkella to the Minister seeking to resume his citizenship. The affidavit informs the Supreme Court that the response was negative meaning Yumkella had failed to follow the legal steps.
The petition is also saying the 2006 amendment which granted Dual Citizenship did not repeal the parent 1973 Act in totality and did not repeal the mandatory steps outlined in the 1976 amendment.
Petitioner Mr. David Fornah therefore wants several Declarations from the Supreme Court concerning those steps that Yumkella should have taken as per law established.
The second segment of the case is the direct petition under the Public Elections Act, of Dr. Yumkella as the presidential candidate of the NGC. The petitioner wants the candidacy to be declared null and void as he says Yumkella fails the citizenship requirements thus making Yumkella as ineligible to contest the March elections.
There is a third aspect of the matter which may arise out of this issue but has not been cited in the legal papers. It may be recalled that the editorial team of this newspaper had promised last night to expound on such a matter which has momentous implications. However, we have now taken an editorial decision to refrain from publicising on it considering the grave nature of it. This is being done in the interest of the international credibility of a great son of the soil in person of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and by extension, to also protect the image of the State of Sierra Leone in the global community.
Meanwhile, for the case itself, whilst Dr. Yumkella is the First Defendant, the Government of Sierra Leone in person of Attorney General is Second Defendant. The Chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mr. Nfa Alie Conteh is Third Defendant and NEC itself is the Fourth Defendant.
Initially, two Sierra Leonean citizens namely Mr. Prince Bindi of Kenema and Madam Kadiatu Kamara of Kambia were to have filed the matter but this newspaper has learnt that the lawyer they were to use, was not well prepared for the matter. At the same time, Mr. David Fornah had also secured the services of Macaulay Esq. so as the deadline for filing reached, Mr. Fornah was able to file but the other two petitioners could not file on time.
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